it takes us three years to make a steak - Heartstone Farm

it takes us three years to make a steak

By Dan Kaplan

Sometimes I wish I wish I ran a widget factory and when my customers wanted more of something, I could just turn the dial and make more of it.

widget cows.jpgIt takes us three years to make a steak. If you count gestation (which you should) to the time we can deliver a steak or roast to your house, it takes three years. I can’t speed up the production line (at least if I want to maintain the same quality). I need to patiently wait until a steer matures to the right weight and body condition. That takes a good two years - three if you count gestation - and that’s just how it is.

Some folks have tried to speed up the process. That’s what Factory Farms do. They are able to slaughter their steers at 14 or 16 months of age by feeding corn - which makes cattle get fat (but also sick). So they give the cattle antibiotics, which of course remains in the meat sold to consumers.

I’m pondering this because - at the moment - our walk in freezer is way too empty. This time of year it’s difficult to keep up with demand. Later, in the summer, it will get better but right now, as the grass is greening up, we have only a few of our cattle who are “finished.”

At the moment a lot of the products on our website say “Sold Out.” That’s no fun for me or for our customers. We’re not processing thousands of head of cattle every week like the big corporate beef companies do. We don’t buy our cows at massive auctions and put them on our feedlot to fatten them up in a few weeks. No, we take the time it takes because I don’t know of any other way to produce high quality, gourmet grass fed beef.

And if I ran a widget factory instead of a farm, I could just turn a dial and make more steaks.

It is gratifying to me that our customers are understanding about this. It underscores that they are buying their beef from a farmer, not a corporation. I’ve never had a customer admonish me because their Side wasn’t quite ready on time. They understand we’re dealing with nature, living creatures and all sorts of things outside of anyone's control. And, I think, that’s why our beef is both healthy eating and delicious.

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